Thursday, December 10, 2009

Giving 'Cold Tangerines' a Warm Review

By: Taylor Griggs

Shauna Niequist's novel "Cold Tangerines" is an absolute delight from start to finish. I came upon its glossy cover while perusing the shelves of the Greenville College bookstore. It was the tantalizing orange, sprinkled in dew and featured on the front cover that caught my eye. I reached for it, pleasantly surprised by how light it felt in my hands, despite it being hard back, and read the premise on the back. I haven't been able to put it down since.

At page 209 I feel I have a pretty good grasp of Niequist's general tone and style of writing. She has a wonderful voice that is light, airy, often comical, and at times profoundly sobering. Her book is broken up into short stories of delectable proportions that aim to celebrate the gift of life. Once you start one there's no way of stopping until you've reached the end. Niequist's tales are from the heart and range in theme from pregnancy to war torn Africa. Her sensitivity to the sights, sounds, and smells of daily life are breathtaking through her vivid imagery and excellent storytelling. She writes:

"I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color the sky is right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday life to make God’s belly laugh, glad he gave life to someone who loves the gift."

If you desire to appreciate the tiny gifts of everyday life, if you desire to see God in everyday life, or if you just need to know you're not the only one who doesn’t have it all together, "Cold Tangerines" is for you. Peel open this wonderful book and let it breathe life into you, as it did for me.

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